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Poster: SDH2O Date: Dec 12, 2006 9:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Ditto.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 10:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Don't know the 80s and 90s well enough to comment on Bob, and I am challenged to hear Bob unless the mix is 'right,' so it would be tough for me to offer an opinion without a lot of work...

I will say that it is an interesting point because my early era friends and I thought that something like this happened with Jerry in the 70s (ie, his sound changed, which I know in part was his use of different guitars, BUT also because he too began experimenting with a variety of effects, etc.). We interpreted this as, rather than 'growth' (ie, he was trying new things that helped him, etc.) that it was because he was finding it easier to play with these effects instead of working hard at his playing in the pure sense (a harsh judgement, I know, and perhaps Dead wrong).

So, my follow up question would be, for the majority of you here that enjoy the 70s so much, did you, unlike me, find that Jerry's playing was better because of these new techniques and approaches?

Please, no 'era wars commentary' as I am accepting that it could very well be judged as an improvement and that my small mindedness caused my knee jerk reaction at the time(anything different is bad sort of thing since we wanted the old style since we grew up with it, etc.).

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Poster: elkdog Date: Dec 12, 2006 12:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

WT, my sense of Garcia's ability is that it grew right up through the 70's, even up to '85. As has been mentioned several times on this board, he was an absolute monster in August '82.
I really enjoy the 74-76 era tone from him- clear as a bell. Jerry's touch during those years was impeccable- very jazzy and smooth, and his guitar rig helped highlight that aspect of his playing. Earlier on, say 1970 or so, it seemed his guitar was always loud, with less dynamic space, and that the tone refined from there. I think the guitar tone on the "Don't Let Go" release from JGB (5/21/76)is my absolute favorite; just beautiful. Some of the MIDI stuff late in the Dead's career may have been partially motivated by Jerry's deteriorating chops, but I think most of the effects you discussed in the 70's and 80's were just to widen his tonal palette.

As for Bob, it's fair to say that his tone got thinner over time, but with a few exceptions, it generally worked well with the mix, helping his guitar's voice stand out, contributing to the Electric Dixieland that was the Dead.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 12:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Elkdog--I can appreciate that; there were defn those among us that saw some improvement with the changes, and the 'effects' issue was minor (ie, only on a few songs, etc). I was really a simpleton, focused on hearing what I had heard before, and distracted by changes at the time. Can appreciate it more now, but was curious about how others saw it (and thinking, again, that 70s lovers might have the opposite take--ie, he was simple in the early days, and grew in productive way in the 70s).

Thanks.

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Poster: high flow Date: Dec 12, 2006 12:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

I just keep thinking of how bored we would all be if the Dead played the same set, 5 times a week, 2 shows a night in Vegas. I don't care if it was a 1968 or a 1988 show. The sameness would be agonizing.

Jerry was a rolling rock. He gathered no moss. We wouldn't be here is they didn't TRY stuff. Experimentation with bad results is better than none.

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Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Dec 12, 2006 2:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Willy - Unlike weir's approach to rhythm guitar where he moved away from tonal ranges that others occupied, Garcia remained where he was at his best. Lots of Jerrys lead stuff comes out of the first position, crosses over the area that Weir occupies and ends up way up the neck. He worked most of his rhythm stuff in the first position as well, giving counterpoint to Lesh, like the low tones on Cold Rain and Snow.

Another area where Garcia differs from Weir is the tones and control he got out of specific guitars. In 72 Garcia switched to a Fender Strat with single coil pickups, which he found offered the best "sonic" control. The Wolf which followed, the first Irwin, designed like a Strat. Then came the monster aluminum necked Travis Bean which also had the same basic wiring and pickup design. This was the '77 guitar that cut through the music like butter.

In 78 Jerry return to Wolf, claiming that the aluminum neck on the Travis Bean was too "cold." Wolf by then has the single coil pickups shoved up against one another like Humbuckers, to minimize the 60 cycle hum chronic to single coils.

Then rosebud, with three humbuckers (splitable) becomes the guitar of choice for the rest of his life.

Of interest is the tonal quality differences of each of these guitars and how they are indeed "era" oriented. Of interest is the "guitars" and gear area of the Dozin website, and checking out the gear Jerry used for specific shows.

This was true to a lesser degree with Weir, especially when he switched from the Gibson ES-335 to the Ibanez "Cowboy" guitar. Tone-wise the ES-335 had a much fatter sound than Ibanez, but was not as distinct. The difference in sound was appreciable, but Weir had also taken a much different approach to playing right about the same time.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 5:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Excellent info on the guitar playing and guitars of Jerry--thanks, Earl.